Did you know that when you visit the International Crane Foundation’s headquarters you are part of a coordinated effort to safeguard cranes through captive breeding? Hooded Cranes are native to East Asia and are Vulnerable – just below Endangered on the International Union for Conversation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, which classifies threatened species throughout the world.
As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, our staff cooperates with other captive centers in the United States to carefully manage Hooded Crane breeding. We do this through a Species Survival Plan that matches individuals for breeding based on genetics, with the goal of keeping the captive population as healthy as possible.
Opal’s parents, Quercus and Aliena, are two of approximately 30 Hooded Cranes in the United States. They also are among the highest ranked individuals in terms of their genetic value. The pair “migrated” to our headquarters last year from Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, where they served as foster parents for chicks in the past. This spring was the first season that the pair produced fertile eggs at our headquarters. With a little help from our staff, Opal hatched on June 13. Opal is a healthy, happy chick thanks to the great care of our Aviculture staff and the chick’s parents!